Liposuction is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the world. It’s been around in various forms for over 40 years, and its popularity has endured because of its ability to safely and predictably reshape problem areas all over the body. Dr. MacLennan has decades of experience with liposuction, both by itself and in combination with other procedures such as breast reduction, tummy tuck, and Mommy Makeover.
It’s important to know that liposuction is not a weight-loss procedure. The best candidates are of normal or slightly above-normal weight and have areas that haven’t responded to diet and exercise. We often hear “I have my mother’s thighs,” or “I have my grandmother’s hips.” It’s hard to “spot-reduce” and these women may turn to liposuction to address their problem areas. Liposuction can help clothing fit better and improve how a woman feels about her body shape, balancing proportion and restoring confidence.
Dr. MacLennan offers “tumescent” or suction-assisted liposuction (“SAL”). While you may have heard about several other types of liposuction, the idea is similar. The problem areas are injected with a solution that contains lidocaine to numb the tissue and epinephrine to minimize bleeding. A long narrow instrument called a cannula is used to loosen the fat, and suction is applied to remove the fat from the targeted areas. Liposuction can be very effective in certain areas of the body, particularly the lower abdomen, hips, “bra rolls”, outer thighs, and upper arms. While we don’t currently offer ultrasound-assisted (UAL) or Vaser, these are other liposuction techniques you may have heard about that can be equally effective in experienced hands. Safety is of primary importance, so we’ll ensure that your chosen procedure is likely to meet your goals with a very low risk of complications.
The best candidates for liposuction are those who are close to their ideal body weight or only mildly overweight, but have areas such as the abdomen, outer thighs (“saddlebags”), or hips (“love handles” or “muffin top”) that are out of proportion to other areas. It’s also important to have realistic expectations about results. Not everyone is the right candidate. When you have loose skin, stretch marks, or an overhang of your lower abdomen, you may be a better candidate for a tummy tuck in order to remove some of the extra skin. Likewise, if your inner thighs have loose skin and stretch marks, liposuction may not be able to give you the tightened result you’re hoping for. Dr. MacLennan will look at all of your areas of concern during your consultation and give you an honest recommendation based on her experience.
Liposuction is a safe, effective procedure with a relatively short recovery time. Most liposuction procedures are done under general anesthesia, as an outpatient so you can go home later the same day. The incisions are very small, but there can be significant bruising and you may be quite sore for a week or more. Most of our patients take about a week off work and regular activities, but recovery time may be longer or shorter, depending upon which areas are treated. Most liposuction patients will also wear a compression garment (similar to Spanx) for about 4 weeks after surgery to help manage the swelling. You can get back to regular activities quite quickly after liposuction, since the incisions are less than 1cm each and the risk of complications is very low.
Dr. MacLennan was fantastic. She made me feel very comfortable and informed. She was always pleasant and happy to answer any and all questions I had before, during and after my surgery. I'd highly recommend her.
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR LIPOSUCTION?
You may be a good candidate for liposuction of you’re at or slightly over normal weight and have specific areas that you haven’t been able to reduce with diet and exercise alone. The best candidates also have tighter, more elastic skin without stretch marks.
I HAVE CELLULITE ON MY THIGHS. WILL LIPOSUCTION HELP?
Unfortunately, liposuction doesn’t improve the appearance of cellulite. The dimpled appearance of cellulite will usually remain, even after we decrease the thickness of the fat layer with liposuction.
WHERE IS LIPOSUCTION PERFORMED?
Most liposuction procedures are done under general anesthesia at either Northwestern Medical Center, or the new Green Mountain Surgery Center (Spring 2019).
DOES LIPOSUCTION TREAT STRETCH MARKS?
Unfortunately, liposuction will only treat the “pinchable” fat deep to the skin and isn’t very effective at tightening skin. If you have stretch marks on your abdomen, Dr. MacLennan may discuss tummy tuck with you as a better option.
WHAT ARE THE MEDICAL RISKS?
Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure with a low rate of complications. While complication rates are low, you should be aware of the potential risk of fluid collections under the skin, nausea after anesthesia, infection, and the extremely rare complication called fat embolism.
ARE THERE COSMETIC RISKS?
Problems can occasionally arise that aren’t medically problematic but can affect your cosmetic result. While the incisions made for the cannula are less than 1 cm in length, occasionally they can appear red or bumpy for several months. One of the most common cosmetic complications is contour irregularities – lumps and bumps from uneven suction. The best option here is prevention, but occasionally liposuction patients choose to have a revision to improve the smoothness of their results.
CAN FAT RETURN AFTER LIPOSUCTION?
Unfortunately, the answer to this frequent question is YES. Liposuction is effective in permanently removing fat cells from treated areas, so if you maintain your post-treatment weight, it’s likely that your results will be long-lasting. If you gain weight, the remaining fat cells, both in the treated and untreated areas, can enlarge and start to affect your results. The best advice is to have your treatment at a healthy weight that you can maintain and protect your investment by keeping your weight steady after your treatment.
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